Picturing Bruegel 
The trio of hunters 
have come home
but for longpoles.
Their hounds, 
lean and unsentimental,
sniff in vain for scent.
High above them
a longtailed kite 
(a hunter too)
circles in defeat.
It all seems so unfair:
wellfed townspeople 
are snug beneath
christmascard rooves;
some skate across ponds,
a few icefish.
Of course, not all
are so defiant:
barely perceptible,
an old man or woman
(it hardly matters which),
bent with a load 
of firewood,
crosses an icy bridge.
In the foreground
a grogshop,
whose dangling sign
is the season's
latest victim;
outside, an open fire
is fed by cook 
and two assistants.
The long hunters
(and their dogs)
are too far gone
to notice . . .
but drag themselves
in frozen leggings 
to their own hearths.	



copyright 2001 Phoebe Claire Publishing, LLC  All rights reserved